During this COVID-19 pandemic, continuous efforts have been made by the Council of Europe member states to ensure the functioning of courts and adjusting in a short time to new circumstances within the existing resources. To discuss and to reflect on the effects of the crisis, a virtual plenary meeting took place on 10 June, bringing together members and observers of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).
Delivery of justice and functioning of the courts during and after the pandemic were in the focus of discussions, including the added value that CEPEJ can provide to member countries in the post-pandemic period. Participants shared experiences and lessons learned from the recent crisis with a view to achieve more efficient justice systems in Council of Europe member states that fully respect human rights and ensure fair trial requirements. Many of these issues have been touched upon in the CEPEJ’s compilation of solutions and measures set up within the member states to ensure the functioning of the European judicial systems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two prominent Albanian representatives, Ornela Naqellari, President of the Lezha District Court, and Brikena Ukperaj, member of the High Judicial Council, shared their experience and assistance received in the context of European Union/Council of Europe programme "Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey - II, under the action “Strengthening the Quality and Efficiency of Justice” (SEJ III), which proved very useful in adapting to the pandemic challenges.
The virtual meeting concluded with the adoption by the CEPEJ of a “Declaration on lessons learned and challanges faced by the judiciary during and after the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The event is organised within the framework of the Greek Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers for which the key theme is "The protection of human life and public health in a pandemic situation, effective management of a health crisis in full respect for human rights and the principles of democracy and the rule of law".